Author: Natasha Ahmed
Available: Indireads and Amazon
Last night I sat to read this novella and read it at a stretch. My plan was to read the second half this morning, but my mind was glued to the story and I finished it by midnight. I'm sure even if it were a novel which I wish it were I would have stayed up till morning and completed it. That was the effect of the story on me. It isn't an extraordinary tale streaming with unpredictable end, but it is a simple story told beautifully.
When I was approached by Natasha Ahmed for a review of her debut book, a romance novella, I almost had a 'no' ready, as it was an e-book and besides, the new age romantic books with their cheesy titles have never made any good impression on me. However, here the title "Butterfly-Season" was refreshing; not tacky at all, and the author's email itself spoke a lot about her mature mind to handle a romance/chick-lit. And call it a woman's instinct; I said a big yes to it. My instinct didn't disappoint me.
The story begins with a conversation between the lead characters and in an instant you are connected. It's about Rumi, an educated Pakistani woman in her thirties from a conservative family falling for a liberal Pakistani man, Ahad, settled in London. Love charmingly develops between them the consequence of which leads to a situation where she has to make some bold choices that would mean severing her ties from her family. Their sizzling love story takes further turn with the lack of understanding of their own priorities along with the unnecessary meddling of Rumi's younger sister. The author has brilliantly encompassed all the components and the reader is piloted deep into the story.
The book also delves in issues that are still forbidden fruits not only in Pakistan but even in most parts of India. It also highlights how finding ones identity opens up the mind, the soul, the heart and mostly ones own perception. The book efficiently tells you that the basic human nature and their emotional reflexes do not change with geography. These human characteristics have been skillfully etched by Natasha, which binds all the elements of the story effectively.
A special mention about the get-together at Ahad's friend's house is a must. The writer here, very gracefully, with her words creates a ghazal mouhol around you. I became a part of the group and could hear a magical voice singing Nayyara Noor's "Kabhi hum khoobsurat thay".
Usually, current writers fail to make good use of desi words in their English language saga, however, Natasha uses urdu words very astutely and appropriately, making the read elegant and close to heart.
What I wanted this book to have was, a little more of the story, a little more exploration of Rumi's new found life, a little more contemplation by Ahad and a little more of their strong chemistry. Nevertheless, I give "Butterfly-Season" 4.5 out of 5 for making titliyan flutter in my tummy in so many pleasing ways.